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Any CCA students out there?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am thinking about going to the California Culinary Academy next year for their Pastry Chef program.

Does anyone have anything to say about their job placement programs? I just went to their open house last Saturday, and gotten the catalogue and found their job placement is 94% for grads of the Pastry Chef program. That's pretty darn good! I am just wondering does the school really help you out in finding jobs, or is it false advertisement like most schools do?

Any advise on preparing myself to becoming a pastry chef? This is a change in career for me, so I have lots to think about.
post #2 of 5
I don't know much about the school but being a pastry chef, I can provide some insight.

A pastry department isn't has chaotic like the scrambling line cooks in a cooks department. A lot of stuff made in a bakery requires the extra time and patients that nothing can really substitute like fermenting the of your starter. This also dictates longer hours so if your use to starting like 6am, be prepared to start as early as 3am. Theres a lot of hands on work here as well, not everything is done in a mixer or a blender, sometimes cold hands are a must if your working with fats a lot. Baking requires precise measurements so 90oz of sugar means 90oz of sugar, not 1g more or less.

Hope this helps a bit and not deter you from persuing a career in pastry making, but theres nothing like it really. What attracted me to the art of pastry making was the precision that was required in ratio and in timing. Enjoy!
post #3 of 5

Student Services

In CCA's Student Services Department they have a team of staff members who's sole purpose for living is to help students find a job. They host regulatr job fairs and they have an impressive stable of extern partners (restaurants and other facilities who accept CCA students.)
It's not false advertising. They really do work hard to help students with everything from housing to transportation to counselling (a resident therapist on staff) and enything else you can imagine.
CCA has to answer to its corporate masters (Career Education Corp) as well as to various auditing and accreditation agencies. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't lie about it.
Look me up when you get here :)

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks Headless Chicken on your insight! I have a chemistry background so I am used to working in the lap and planning out experiments and taking precise measurements. :) So it doesn't deter from pursuing this career. What are the hours like for a pastry chef?

Glad to know that the school is involved with student's job hunting.

Does any one know what is the expected starting pay of a graduate of CCA or similar professional culinary school? I read some where to expect to start at $6-8 an hour, and work your way up. I was sort of surprised to see that even after going through such rigorous program of 5 days a week, 7 hours a day, you still start at minimum wage???
post #5 of 5
It depends on where you end up and there are many variables. San Francisco minimum wage is $8.50 an hour so that's the least you can expect. Experience has shown that at entry level (even after this program) the average is about $10 an hour. (Still not much in a very expensive City like SF.) Schools generally don't quote pay rates because there are so many factors to consider it's impossible to pin it down.

Keep in mind that life at a school is worlds apart form life in a production facility. You leave school thinking you are all that and guess what, you end up at the bottom of the totem pole and have to earn you way up. If you are really good (and paid attention in class :) ) the rise can be fairly quick.

Good luck

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